Sweetheart, you are sweeter than sugar. It's true! Sugar and other food sweeteners are sweet nothings - just another empty calorie. Sugar is the most commonly added sweetener, and it's only 16 calories a teaspoon. So why does it have such a bad rap?
Just like in a relationship, what you do is often more important than what you say. Sugar depresses your immune system, leads to tooth decay, and is implicated in obesity, along with a long list of other ills.
Table sugar has been refined from sugar beets and sugarcane to such a degree that it has virtually no nutritional benefit. There are no vitamins, minerals or fiber.
It tastes sweet on your tongue, but it is refined into simple sugars so it is quickly absorbed by your body and spikes your blood-sugar levels. It's a bit of a shock to your body - your pancreas secretes insulin to drop your blood-sugar levels back to normal. That's why you feel that sugar high (insulin burst) and then a crash. This spike and crash routine is bad for a few reasons:
- It suppresses your immune response (bad for disease)
It can make you crave food and increase your calorie consumption once the insulin has passed (makes you fat)
You may crash after your sugar high (makes you tired)
And besides, sugar leads to cavities and expensive dental bills! It also gives you wrinkles. Yup, the process your body uses to digest sugar also breaks down collagen - and accelerates wrinkles. Yikes! If you are diabetic, you already know that it is important to regulate your insulin levels.
There's nothing good to be gained from too much sugar. Americans now eat about 3 lbs per week. Unfortunately, like sodium, it's in a lot of processed food: cereal, bread, yogurt, spaghetti sauce... This sugar comes from multiple sources: sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, evaporated cane syrup, etc. Make sure you read your food labels. You are probably going to eat sugar (we do!), just make sure you are eating it mindfully, and are choosing where you want it from. At MindfulEats, our preferred vehicles are chocolate, ice cream and fruit (the fructose in fruit comes with other nutrients that allow for slower absorption into the blood stream so you don't have that starving feeling. Fructose is also processed in the liver so doesn't cause the same insulin spike).
What to do - Cut Down Your Sugar Mindfully
Want to know more? MedicineNet article on where sugar lurks (though it thinks the only problem with sugar is the calories), sugar post on Whole Foods blog, health benefits of sugar, artificial sweeteners from the Mayo Clinic.
What I ate: 1 egg, latte, 1 cup coffee, 1 cup yellow rice + sauteed shrimp + beans, 1.5 squares chocolate, 1 apple, (delicious dinner at Chez Allison & Mike): chips + salsa, 3 fish tacos, pickles, quinoa salad, 60 ounces of water
Exercise: 60 min of Inner Warrior (yoga/martial arts class)